The other day I was talking with Sigvatr (link-dead’s graphic artist) and we came up with a brilliant idea. While we were discussing gaming ideas, mainly cooperative multiplayer games, we both agreed that this area of gameplay is very underrated. It also needs more intensity to become really fun. I’m fascinated by the fear of dying you get in games and I’m always seeking for solutions how to magnify this aspect of gameplay. So we came up with this idea.
A lot of times while playing Day of Defeat I wasn’t really playing for the purpose of killing as much enemies as I can, I played to survive for the longest time possible. I think my personal record was nearly an hour, being a sniper with more than 20 kills. Yes it involved a lot of hiding and camping but it was worth it. Trying to stay alive is as much fun as killing.
Now how do you bring this into ordinary gameplay, in a game like Soldat for example?
You must somehow force the player to be careful by restricting the time he has for gameplay. This works fairly well in Counter-Strike or Soldat survival mode. But what if we take this one step further?
My first idea was a once per lifetime event. You download the game. You enter the battle. If you die the game quits, erases itself and you can’t ever play the game again in your life. It would be as if you actually were born and died in the game.
For me it sounds brilliant… but maybe not for the rest of the gamers.
So the next idea is… Weekly Battles.
Once per week at a given time there would be a battle. This would be the actual game happening. 10000’s of people would join the server and fight until they die. Some men would die in the first few minutes, others would fight for a couple days. This would be possible because of the fear of death. There would be no Rambo spraying and running into the enemy base. Believe me if you had a chance to play the game once per week you would value your life enormously. Half of the army would probably stay in base just for safety. There would probably have to be a special sergeant class that kills deserters and sends them to battle!
If this idea seem bizarre to you, well think about TV shows. I think you don’t have a problem with waiting a whole week for your favourite sit-com? And they last mostly 30 minutes! This would probably be also the average time of living in this game. But imagine the intensity! You would remember every minute of it for the rest of the week! A gaming serial!
A single battle would carry on for hours. People would not sleep or hide somewhere and go to sleep. When they would wake up the battle would still be there. Each player carefully planning every step and discussing it with his team mates. The players that would survive would become veterans. They would wear special badges and everybody would fear them. If you would see a veteran you would flee for sure! But imagine the glory if you killed one of them!
Of course in-between battles, during the week, you would get to train. There would be special boot camps which you would have to sign up for. You would train on special maps and shoot with paint balls. Sort of like the noob missions in America’s Army. But that would just be so that you can prepare yourself during the week for the actual fun! But if you suck too much during the boot camp you would be punished. Like if you did not show up for training you would get degraded and then when the actual battle would happen you would be sent to front lines as cannon fodder. Or if you would be really bad you would be banned from the battle and wait for next week to pass the boot camp. The drill sergeants in the boot-camp would of course be veterans. See how this all works elegantly?
This idea nicely blends with another fantasy of mine. When you play any multiplayer game you don’t really know who you are playing with in your team. You’re supposed to know each other, because the game would be better, teamplay would be more smooth, but there is no real possibility for that, the game is too quick. This is partly solved by clan wars, but again it doesn’t matter if your teammate will die or not. If he does he will respawn in 5 seconds and that’s it. There are no feelings here.
But gaming is all about feelings.
So what if you could bring this feeling into the game…
You land in a marine boot camp with 10 other soldiers. You train with them all week, the same guys everyday. During that week you get to know everybody. You bond with each other because you have a drill sergeant which you all hate. You become buddies. Let’s imagine during this week you acquire a friend named Chuck. You fight with each other really well, you have great rapport and do all the team-based missions together. You’re both becoming stronger everyday. Finally the day of the battle arrives. You, Chuck and all your team mates disembark on enemy territory. After days and days of training you stand on the ground looking for enemies… then within seconds out of nowhere… a giant robot stomps right next to you crushing Chuck into little pieces! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
You fight furiously, half of your team is gone. After minutes the fight is over. There are no survivors except you. All the people you knew are dead and you won’t see them ever again (well for a week at least). You look around and you notice that Chuck isn’t really dead. He’s got 1% health and he’s lying in a pool of his own guts. You quickly rush to him with a medikit. You try to revive him. Shit if he dies the game ends, all this week will be a waste! While you’re patching him he mumbles to you “Tell my wife that I…”. You reply “No, hang on, you will tell her that!”. “Tell my wife…. ehhhhh…*gargle*gargle*”. “Hang on Chuck! Chuck!? NOOOO!!!! YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE A WIFE!”. And then another giant robots comes from around the corner and stomps on both of you. End of game.
Do you see this? This level of intensity can’t ever be achieved with normal 5 second spawn times or rounds. This intensity comes from valuing life!
If you have other ideas for this let me hear them. The idea is to make the player value his life and the life of his teammates for intensity, fun and adrenaline! I want to see this one day.